Here’s a selection of photos from my recent trip to Fürstenhagen. As usual, click each photo to enlarge it.
The inn, where we sleep, dance, eat, and drink, is the Landgasthaus “zur Linde”, run by the Ackerhans family. They always treat us well, and ample meals to keep us fueled for the dancing are part of the package. The inn is nicely decorated, with plenty of flowering plants around. I’ve noticed that the towns in Germany always seem nicely kept, and I guess it’s an important part of the small-town culture.
A nice azalea
Mein Bier kommt
The callers this year were Ben Rubright and Todd Fellegy, and they did a great job leading us through solving puzzles in 4/4 time. There’s a lot of dancing here: a typical weekend comprises five sessions of two to two-and-a-half hours each. This is a “double” dance, from Wednesday to Sunday, with ten sessions, and it can be quite intense for both the dancers and the callers. Especially so since we needed the caller who wasn’t calling to dance, in order to fill the fourth square.
This is what we do
Germany has long pushed alternative energy sources, and there are rows of windmills across the countryside. Fürstenhagen has recently taken to solar energy in a big way: many of the buildings now sport impressive solar arrays. On the other hand, there’s still a lot of driving, despite fuel prices (about 1.30€/litre ($7/gal) for gasoline and 1.02€/litre ($5.40/gal) for diesel fuel), and their Stau (traffic jams) are legendary.
Happily, we’re going
the other way
We get Friday afternoon off from the dancing, and many of us make our way to one of the larger towns in the area — the choices are, in order of distance and size, Uslar, Hannoversch-Münden, and Göttingen. I went to Hannoversch-Münden with two German friends. We walked around, did a little shopping, had coffee, and enjoyed being outside for a while. The German village architecture is quite distinctive; you’d never mistake this for a town in the U.S. On the way, we pass some fields of the principal spring crop in this part of the country, Raps (rape); the seeds are used to make canola oil for cooking. We're a little late this year, but when the dance has been a couple of weeks earlier, the fields throughout the countryside were covered with yellow.
And that’s the trip. I’ll leave you with a final “Barry mit Bier” photo, from Friday evening after the dancing. We finish the square dance at 9:30, giving us plenty of time for beer, snacks, and conversation, while still getting to bed at a reasonable hour, to be rested and ready for the next day’s schedule.